Leadership & Strategy
Hiring for culture over experience helped us stand out from the crowd
Founded in: 2000
Tip: “Putting together brand and tone of voice docs helps to get everyone on the same page.”
When Warwickshire-based gift service Prezzybox started looking into what made them stand out, they realised they weren’t much different to competitors – in terms of either product range or the way they sold them. If they continued down that track, they would become a business competing solely on price – and they already knew they couldn’t beat Amazon on that basis.
Prezzybox looked afresh at why they were in business and what made them unique. They realised that their mission was unique: We aim to create moments of happiness by delivering the extraordinary. If they could build an internal culture which reflected that, it would resonate with customers and provide a point of difference from competitors.
After several months of looking at processes, the team of 25 worked together to embed the mission and attach values to everything they did, from the products they sold to the people they hired.
As managing director Zak Edwards explained, if you don’t get buy-in from everyone, ingraining company values won’t work. So rather than hiring based on a prospect’s experience, Edwards concentrated on hiring for culture and belief in the same values.
“Our interview process is informal,” Zak explained. “I get a feel early on about whether someone is going to fit in culturally. We’ve got a lot of graduates, but we’ve also got people who’ve never been near a university. One 18-year-old didn’t see the value in university, but he’s like a little rocket scientist. His input is as valuable as someone who’s worked here for 20 years.”
While Zak doesn’t think they’ve finished the job yet, he believes that hiring for culture has helped the brand externally. On a busy day, Prezzybox receives about 6,000 orders and ships to 120 countries. In recent months, they’ve also created partnerships with O2 and Vodafone.
“Revisiting our mission, vision and value statement has helped to revolutionise us as a business. It’s an invaluable experience, but it has to be company-wide. You need to make sure everyone will be on board – it’s a massive part of choosing whether someone’s going to work here.”